If you’re in the mood for a day spent sipping wine or cider followed by an evening listening to a top-notch musical act, the Hudson Valley is about to make your recreational dreams come true. On top of being home to numerous vineyards and orchards, Ulster County has so many music venues that you’ll find it hard to pick just one for the weekend. Consider these five, check out their upcoming schedules, and fill your calendar with melodic (and gastronomic) joy.
In addition to regular acts that span a variety of music genres ranging from reggae to Beatles tributes, the Bearsville Theater also hosts finalists from music competitions like American Idol, plus a jazz brunch every Sunday. The recently-renovated lounge has a colorful mid-century modern aesthetic with a trendy geometric bar. Order your signature drink as you listen to a folk or jazz artist perform on the room’s stage. Certain events can be streamed online for a donation—a great alternative if tickets are sold out.
291 Tinker Street, Woodstock
The Colony Beer Garden
The outdoor beer garden at The Colony Hotel – a cool, moody Woodstock relic dating back to 1929 – has so much outdoor space that you won’t have to worry (much) about snagging a table. On top of a regular rotation of live music from artists like The Bunkhouse Boys, Sonic Soul, and Hot Water Music, an open mic is held every Monday. There are also other types of performances, like stand-up and podcast tapings. Plus, you can come in for breakfast on Saturdays or brunch on Sundays. Shows in the outdoor beer garden (open Wednesday–Sunday, 2–10pm) have free admission, and donations (which benefit the artists) are strongly suggested.
22 Rock City Road, Woodstock
The Falcon offers up the perfect combination for a night out: mouthwatering food, unique cocktails, and world-renowned musical acts. There’s a main stage and an outdoor stage, which means they can host double the performances, and you can choose the experience you want (indoors vs. outside). Musicians range from Grammy winners to up-and-comers, spanning every genre. The menu features ingredients from sustainable farms; think of the dishes as elevated comfort food. Try to get a tour of the Avalon Archives Museum of Roots, Rock & Roll in the underground taproom—call ahead to find out if the collection’s director, Ned Moran, will be available to show you around.
1348 Route 9W, Marlboro
Levon Helm Studios
The Levon Helm Studios is an interesting space because it’s technically a private residence that’s only open to the public during shows. There’s not even a sign on the road; you’ll have to look for the mailbox, just like you were going to a friend’s house. Big-name performers have included Gavin DeGraw, Lake Street Dive, and The Zombies. If you love the venue and the shows, you can join the Barnburner Membership Program, which secures you a spot at every single performance. And while you can’t buy food or beverages here, you’re welcome to bring your own drink in a non-glass, reusable cup.
160 Plochmann Lane, Woodstock
Opus 40’s Stockade Saturday Cabaret
The Opus 40 sculpture park and museum holds open-air Stockade Saturday Cabarets, with live music (and poetry) by local artists set against an unbeatable backdrop of the Catskill Mountains at sunset. Indulge in BBQ by Papa’s Best Batch, a smokehouse and “sammich” shop that serves out of a transformed Airstream trailer (or, sometimes, their food truck). Brews, cocktails, and wine are provided by Stockade Tavern. Bring a chair or a blanket to claim your spot on the lawn!
356 George Sickle Road, Saugerties
Planning out fun days and nights to fill up the rest of your summer? Check out UlsterCountyAlive.com to stay on top of what’s happening in the area.
Photo (top): The Falcon, courtesy Ulster County Tourism